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Super Green Thumb
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starting shrubs from cuttings

I have several shrubs I would like to propagate from cuttings if possible: spice bush, witch hazel, redbud, winterberry, possibly others. I've tried a couple times, other years, coating the cutting in rooting hormone and putting it in potting soil in a plastic bag and they've always just died. Any other suggestions? thanks

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Super Green Thumb
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Location: Central Sand Hills South Carolina

My brother used to make azalea cuttings. He placed the cuttings in sand, in a clear covered container, outside in a semi shade location that never got full sun. I think that he always got at least 50% to root.

Be sure and have a node near the end that is placed in the medium. Also, use clean sand, or a sterile soilless medium or mix you own with peat, perlite, and vermiculite type of ingredients. Don't let the cuttings get too warm and don't expose them to too much light.

I have found that it is particularly easy to get cuttings to root in early spring. They root very quickly, sometimes without the leaves even whithering. I've done cuttings of butterfly bush then and didn't even use root hormone. Just make the cutting, strip or cut off all but small leaves, put in you soil, and stand back. Mid to late fall is also a great time to start cuttings. You don't even need to check on those until the following spring.

One last comment. My spice bush, and many other shrubs make small offshoots from the ground. Those can often be detached with some or most of their roots intact. They will grow and mature much more quickly than is the case with a stem cutting. I've propagated many of my plants, including blueberries, breath of spring, spice bush, and a few others that way. Won't give you a mass of plants, but if you just want an occasional addition then separating a rooted stem from the parent is a good method.

Super Green Thumb
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Location: El Cerrito, CA

Last season, I read an excellent book on plant propagation. Unfortunately, I can't remember its title off-hand, but it was a relatively recent (post-2000), hard-cover book from the library.

Take a look at your local library's holdings under Dewey Decimal Number 635 (Gardening). They may have propagation guides as well.

Not all shrubs thrive by the same cutting method. There are hard-wood and soft-wood cuttings, shrubs which require air-layering as opposed to rooting in hormone and water, etc.

There's quite a variety that different plants require.

If I dig up (ha ha ) the title of the book, I'll be sure to list it here!

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

Greener Thumb
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Location: North Carolina

Generally speaking, depending on your zone and soil, plants that have seed usually are started by birds by dropping the seed in fertle soil. In NC there are plenty of redbuds sprouting up, dogwoods, etc. You might want to look around and don't pull something up unless you know its a weed. Even had a Chinese witch hazel sprout that is growing profusley, but if you are in Zone 5 or below chances become slimmer.

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Location: Shenandoah Valley

Rooting Info

I have often referred to this article: [url][/url] when rooting woody cuttings.

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Super Green Thumb
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Nice reference article. Bookmarked it as a keeper.


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Location: Mansfield, Missouri

have you tried layering them?

Don't know about the ones you mentioned, but I have successfully layerd my pink honeysuckle, forsythia, and even a rose of sharon. Just in case you don't know what "layering" is. You take a stalk of your bush, bend it to the ground, cut about half way through the stalk, put a toothpick in the cut and bury it in the ground at the base of the plant. I put a rock over it after I bury it to keep it solid in the ground. The cut will start to root, then in a few months you can cut it from the main bush dig it up, and replant it elsewhere. Like I said I've done this succesfully a few times, and I consider myself a somewhat novice at plants. (Just learning) that's why I'm on this site!! :D

Just my 2 cents! Hope it helps.


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